We’re a Working Farm!
You may have passed McDonald Farm for years without knowing what exactly goes on up that long driveway. You may be shocked when you hear that Green Earth Harvest, a program of The Conservation Foundation and Naperville’s only organic vegetable farm, quietly exists here, surrounded on three sides by subdivisions.
Believe it or not, McDonald Farm is a working organic vegetable farm! We have 49 acres, 2 tractors, 4 greenhouses, 1 hard working crew, and a huge variety of vegetables. From arugula to zucchini, we grow all the essentials like onions, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and lettuce. We also grow several things that you might find out of the ordinary like fennel, Hakurei turnips, various greens, candy-cane colored beets and oddly shaped summer squash.
Our goal at the farm is to make sure that people get fresh, organic food grown in our own community. Local food strengthens a community’s health, both in terms of getting great nutrition and by bringing people together. Nothing exemplifies this better than our u-pick days, where people simultaneously pick and eat the little pops of flavor and nutrients we call cherry tomatoes, while making memories together outside. We also love having people on our farm for our annual May Plant Sale & Open House, summer day camps for the kids, and regular volunteering opportunities. Sharing these highlights and joys of the growing season with family, our shareholders and community at large is the very point of the work we do here.
Green Earth Harvest and The Conservation Foundation
Behind the uniqueness of providing local, organic vegetables, McDonald Farm has a rich and deep history. Lenore McDonald, the farm’s namesake, donated her property to The Conservation Foundation in 1992. Her donation specified that the property must be kept in conservation, education and agricultural uses and a conservation easement was placed to ensure its preservation in perpetuity. This means that this land can never be developed and today TCF continues to promote good health and ecological sustainability to preserve Lenore McDonald’s legacy.
Green Earth Harvest, originally named Green Earth Institute, was founded in 2002 as an entity separate from The Conservation Foundation, but in 2018 the two merged and united our missions. Together, our overall focus is on healthy communities as we promote the care of our rivers, the preservation and restoration of natural green spaces, as well as supplying sustainably grown, local, organic vegetables. Farming inherently relies on a healthy environment, and the future of our environment and our Earth depends on skilled, sustainable, and local farming.
How to Get Involved
Are you wondering how you can join us in our mission and get your hands on local, organic vegetables?
Most of our vegetables are distributed through our shareholder program, which is where you purchase a weekly or biweekly subscription of vegetables. Doing this gives you the opportunity to not only get locally grown, organic and delicious veggies, you also have the opportunity to connect with the farm, enjoy the peacefulness of the land and even walk the fields to pick your own beans and cherry tomatoes.
If you are farther away but would still like to enjoy our veggies, we have options for you! We have pickup locations across several western suburbs including Downers Grove, Winfield, Hinsdale and Lombard. And, if you would like to bring our vegetables to your place of work, our Worksite Wellness Program might be just the right thing for your organization.
If a vegetable subscription isn’t quite your style, we can be found at a local farmers market this summer. We also set up a weekly farm stand right at the entrance of our farm most weeks in the summer. Check out our website to view times and places to find us and our veggies!
We also love having volunteers out on the farm. Volunteering on the farm is a great way to work outside, meet new people, enjoy the peace of an organic farm, and (perhaps) walk away with a couple extra vegetables at the end of the day!
To stay up to date on events happening on the farm you can subscribe to our Connections newsletter and like us on Facebook and Instagram. We look forward to growing with you in 2020!